7.2/10
419
7 user 6 critic

Slogans (2001)

Andre starts as a teacher in a remote mountain village in Albania. His first task is to choose one of two communist slogans. He picks the shorter one, which is appreciated by his class, ... See full summary »

Director:

Gjergj Xhuvani
Reviews
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
David Elmasllari David Elmasllari ... David
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marko Bitraku Marko Bitraku ... Gjin
Mirjana Dedi Mirjana Dedi ... Mira
Artur Gorishti Artur Gorishti ... Andre
Birçe Hasko Birçe Hasko ... Sabaf
Niko Kanxheri Niko Kanxheri ... Selman
Fadil Kujovska Fadil Kujovska ... Pashk
Rita Ladi Rita Ladi ... Lumja
Robert Ndrenika Robert Ndrenika ... Llesh
Agim Qirjaqi Agim Qirjaqi ... Directeur de l'ecole
Luiza Xhuvani Luiza Xhuvani ... Diana
Festim Çela Festim Çela ... Festim
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Storyline

Andre starts as a teacher in a remote mountain village in Albania. His first task is to choose one of two communist slogans. He picks the shorter one, which is appreciated by his class, because they have to build the slogan on the hillside using whitewashed rocks. However, this means that the longer slogan goes to Diana, the French teacher to whom Andre is attracted. Andre gets on the wrong side of the communist party boss of the village, when he stands up for an unjustly accused goat herdsman, whom he had befriended. The boss is determined to take his revenge on Andre. Written by Will Gilbert

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Albania for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. See more »

User Reviews

 
The Blind Alley of Revolutionary Zeal
22 April 2010 | by MuldwychSee all my reviews

'Slogans' is a wry and entertaining commentary on the excesses of Communist Albania in the early 1970s. Andre, a new biology teacher posted to a school in a remote mountain village, soon finds the staff and students there to be far more concerned about the upkeep of the Communist slogans they have depicted on the surrounding hillsides in large white stones than the Three Rs. Failure to devote one's full time to this endeavour will supposedly earn the wrath of district party officials, although as the film progresses, it quickly becomes clear that the village itself seems far more obsessed with the task than the rarely seen bureaucratic overlords themselves, and failure to uphold the zeal for rearranging the stones becomes ammunition for the true believers to engage in witch hunts against anyone they have personal grievances. Andre and those of the village not fully enraptured with the community's purposeless raison d'etre find themselves forever treading through a minefield of contradictions, paranoia and party dogma that could explode around them at any moment.

The film is an excellent study in farce, and claiming to be based on real events, it is a very welcome and healthy progression for Albanian society to be able to laugh at the absurd, almost Orwellian blind alley they once stumbled down. Indeed, 'Slogans' takes many delighted pot shots at the futility of the locals' single-minded determination to pepper the hills with important-sounding slogans - the meanings of which they are unable to actually explain, such as the declarative 'American Imperialism Is Only A Paper Tiger' and 'Finish Successfully The Campaigns Of Our Harvests And Sowings'. The loss of a generation of children, so tired from spending their days building giant letters for phrases they cannot hope to understand that they have no energy left for actual studies is all the more tragic because of their excited determination and uncomprehending devotion to the task, reminiscent of the first generation of the children who grew up in Mao's China, becoming the most devout party members of all, yet the most ignorant.

'Slogans' also shows the way in which the real world continually steps in to foil the Party's designs and is punished for doing so. The giant letters are continually unearthed by fauna, romances evolve, and children play, all resulting in stiff penalties for the unwitting transgressors. One of the most touching scenes for me features Andre and a dirt-poor, illiterate herdsman, who implores the teacher to help him convince the local government to provide him with better housing. The poor peasant, whose lack of education precludes him from understanding anything of the local politics, is ultimately destined to be condemned for his ignorance, his plight an excellent metaphor for the absurdity and failure of the Communist ideologies, which have been stripped away of every last scrap of meaning and do nothing for the people who actually matter. Ultimately, any such efforts at normality are quashed, and the final message of the film is clearly that the people are slaves to the system they themselves willingly perpetuate, which is ultimately too powerful to resist. Thankfully, history has proved this not to be the case.

Yet it is important to remember that 'Slogans' is as much a comedy as it is drama, and thankfully, both writers and director have enough faith in their story to let the farce come organically from the events themselves, with the humour often understated and capable of sneaking up on you. There is an almost Pythonesque quality to the absurd situations characters find themselves in (exemplifying the old axiom that truth is stranger than fiction), which will draw laughs of their own accord, and indeed I found myself chuckling away several times at the inherent contradictions, such as a scene in which the school Party leader condemns a child for accidentally referring to China as 'revisionist' and then proceeds straight-faced to make a similar mistake himself.

While some may argue that you have to have lived through a Communist dictatorship such as that under Enver Hoxha to truly appreciate the fear, uncertainty and for 'Slogans' in particular, the sheer madness that occurs when purpose becomes a shell, all societies are powered by these irrational drives to varying degrees and audiences should have no trouble appreciating that absurdity for what it is and seeing the funny side as the film intends. Touching, amusing, sad and hopeless, 'Slogans' runs the gamut of emotions, striking a fair balance between them in its efforts to be lighthearted while not diluting its core message.


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Details

Country:

France | Albania

Language:

Albanian

Release Date:

31 October 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Hasla See more »

Filming Locations:

Albania

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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